|Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
Manierre William Williamson
appeared in at least 40 westerns and 7 serials
|Special thanks to Jana Paton, Roy Brent's step-daughter, and to Old Corral contributors Donn and Nancy Moyer, for the following info on Roy Brent.|
(Courtesy of Jana Paton and Donn & Nancy Moyer)
|Roy Brent was born August 29, 1903 in Lafayette, Louisiana. His death certificate indicates he was born Manierre (Cajun name) William Williamson in Lafayette, Louisiana but he was christened Alexander 'Bill' Williamson. His father was a carnival worker, and the family traveled a lot with the shows. Brent worked in carnivals in his early life, and served in the US Navy in World War I. His only real ambition was to be a professional baseball player.|
He had NO interest in films, but in 1921 he met Christie Comedies star Bobby Vernon at a party. This resulted in film work as an extra. He became a stunt man and worked in that capacity for a number of years. For the film DANTE'S INFERNO, he was selected to don a toupee and became a stand in for Spencer Tracy. Once, on location in San Diego at the Marine Base for a picture starring Richard Dix, the Marine baseball team needed a catcher, and he got excused for time to play ball. Roy was working on THE COLLEGIANS and when it came to the baseball scene, he was elected to be technical advisor. Brent was to pick folks to play ball players. He asked one fellow, who didn't look at all like a baseball player, where he played. He said The Arizona State League so Brent got permission from Wesley Ruggles, the director to hire a pudgy player with a funny voice who turned out to be comedy sidekick Andy Devine. Not listed in his filmography is PRIDE OF THE YANKEES with Gary Cooper in which Brent had a part ... as a ballplayer. What else? He took great pride in this role.
Robert Livingston gave him a break in B westerns where he had speaking roles. Roy was a pal of Clark Gable and Pola Negri. In 1947, he wrote the music to "How In Love Can You Get" (with lyrics by Edward Clark, a.s.c.a.p.) which was published.
Roy was married twice. First in his early years, then, soon divorced. In 1957, Roy married his second wife, Ruth Corbett, who was a commercial artist and illustrator for Universal-International Pictures.
Roy Brent passed away from of emphysema at Sun City, California, on February 10, 1979. His wife Ruth Corbett Brent passed away in December, 1997 at age 85.
Ruth's daughter Jana Paton (Brent's step-daughter and friend of the Moyers) provided much of this information and some was taken from a June, 1998 article on Brent in The Good Old Days magazine in which Ruth Corbett often wrote. Brent was actually working in films in the early 1920s but it was a long time before he got film credits and speaking parts.
(Jana Paton and the Moyers have provided images of the 4-page, June 1998 article which Ruth Corbett Brent authored on her husband. Each page is a jpg image, and ye Old Corral webmaster can send to anyone who requests them.)
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Roy Brent: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0107600/
There are records on Roy Brent in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and California Death Records database, and if you wish to do your own search, go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral. Note the discrepancy in the birthdates and the reference to an Illinois birth location:
|The Soc Security Death
born: 29 Aug 1903
died: Feb 1979
Residence: 92381 (California)
|The California Death|
Records database shows:
birth state: ILLINOIS
age at passing: 75 yrs
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is a still along with some crops/blowups from the Bill Elliott THE MAN FROM THUNDER RIVER (Republic, 1943). From left to right are Elliott, Roy Brent, Jack Rockwell, Anne Jeffreys, Georgia Cooper, John James and Al Taylor.